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Is gossip a blessing or a bane, when it comes to career progress?

Most of us don’t really enjoy being the topic of others’ gossiping. It’s often mean-spirited and generally inaccurate.

In fact, plenty of people take great pains to stay out of sight, when it comes to dicey situations. This seems particularly true in instances of potentially risqué behavior.

Countless career experts counsel clearly against mixing business with pleasure, professional with social, and work life with real life.

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Maybe this sounds like a no-brainer. Only it’s not.

Some people actually do feed the frenzy on purpose. Maybe they simply enjoy being the center of attention, but sometimes it seems to run deeper than that.

I have a colleague who specializes in fueling the fires of fodder on purpose. Let’s call her Gertie – to protect her privacy, which she seems less interested in preserving.

Daily, Gertie posts extremely candid comments and statements on Facebook and other spots, highlighting her serial dating adventures and showcasing her self-proclaimed “bad behavior.” Her profile photo series includes an ever-increasing collection of “come hither” self-portraits.

On her career how-to blog, Gertie even writes about her shall-we-say social networking strategy as a means of drumming up attention for her own websites, instructing other web hosts to follow suit. 

Hey, it seems to work. Fellow web hosts and bloggers are gossiping about Gertie in online groups and even including links to her posts. 

Granted, one of Gertie’s websites is a celebrity gossip spot. Maybe personal gossip goes with the territory for readers. And maybe self-disclosure isn’t really gossip, which tends to target other people instead.

Apparently, Gertie is writing a roman a clef to detail her exploits. OK, so maybe she’s luring readers with her colorful status updates and racy photographs.

Perhaps Gertie is onto something.

On the other hand, what happens if Gertie someday seeks to apply for a company job?

If you were a potential employer, would you hire Gertie, if you read her blog or her book or her purposefully provocative posts? Would you take her seriously, disregarding her self-disclosed private life?

How important is a professional demeanor, while a person is on his or her own time?

Can the gossip grapevine help your career at all?
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1 comment:

  1. Great post and fantastic points about professionalism and how we conduct ourselves online and in social media. More people need to be aware of this. We're definitely in an age of "sharing too much".


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